Nationalist opposition candidate Andrzej Duda will win the most votes in the first round of Poland’s presidential election and will face incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski in a May 24 run-off, according to a surprise exit poll.
Mr Duda is expected to capture 34.8% of the vote to Mr Komorowski’s 32.2%, according to the IPSOS poll published by the private TVN24 and the state-run PAP news agency after the polls closed.
Surprising 1st exit poll of the Polish Presidential Elections. Andrzej Duda (centre right-wing PiS) leads! Next Pres? pic.twitter.com/cXpRWrNwol— George Byczynski (@georgephilipb) May 10, 2015
The vote was a test for Poland’s two major political forces, represented by Mr Komorowski and Mr Duda, ahead of the country’s parliamentary election in the fall.
Mr Komorowski, who has served as president since 2010 and is aligned with the centre-right ruling Civic Platform party, called the exit poll prediction a “serious warning” to those who want to have a “reasonable Poland.”
A beaming Mr Duda, a member of the conservative nationalist Law and Justice party, said a change in state leadership is needed to secure a “dignified life in a safe Poland, which needs to be mended in many areas”.
The exit poll predicted that no candidate would win more than 50% of the votes needed to avoid a runoff and put the turnout at 49.4%.
With most power in the hands of Poland’s prime minister and the government, the presidency has many ceremonial duties, but the president is the commander of the armed forces and has the power to propose and veto legislation.
Official results in the vote were expected on Tuesday.